There are very few true orthodontic emergencies and it is our goal to keep emergency visits to our office a minimum. Most problems that arise can be remedied at home. However, if you have a situation that you cannot resolve on your own, call us as soon as possible. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan and extended time in braces.
“I feel discomfort/irritation.”
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, the same dose of Tylenol or Ibuprofen that you take for a headache wi ll help. If eating is uncomfortable, remember that this is both normal and temporary. Try eating softer foods during this time.
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. Pinch off a small piece of wax, the size of a small pea, and roll it into a ball. Dry the area to be applied and flatten the wax completely over the area causing irritation. The wax is harmless, so don’ t worry if it is accidentally ingested.
“My bracket feels loose/came off.”
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to the center of each tooth. If a bracket has come loose, call the orthodontist to determine whether or not you need to be seen before your next appointment. If your bracket is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If this happens over the weekend, cover the bracket with wax and leave a message for an appointment when we return. A bracket can be knocked off if you eat hard or crunchy foods or if your mouth is struck during a sporting activity. Remember to always wear a mouth guard when playing sports.
“My wire is poking me.”
The end of one of your wires may shift out of place and irritate your mouth. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If you are unable to move the wire into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. If your next visit is coming up soon, this should help you stay comfortable until then. However if the wax does not help and you will not be able to see the orthodontist soon, you may have someone help to clip the wire, as long as he/she is comfortable with the task. Remember that IF YOU CLIP THE WIRE, THE CLIPPED PIECE MUST BE REMOVED FROM YOUR MOUTH TO AVOID SWALLOWING. Use a folded tissue or gauze around the area to catch the piece. Use a pair of sharp clippers and snip off the protruding wire. Cover the now-cut part of the wire with relief wax if necessary.
“A color/elastic has fallen off.”
Sometimes elastics, or the tiny rubber bands that hold the wire into the bracket/brace, may come off. When one elastic falls off or breaks, others may do the same. Examine all elastics and inform the orthodontist if you see any that are broken or missing. This is not an emergency, however please inform the office, who will advise
whether you should be seen before your next scheduled visit.
“A separator fell out.”
In some cases, a separator is used to space out your back teeth before placing your braces. If the separator falls out more than 1 day before your appointment please call us to have it replaced.
“I lost my retainer.”
Please call us immediately if retainers are lost. We will need to schedule you for two appointments; one for an impression, and then a week later to insert your retainers.